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Consultation launched on options to make Buckinghamshire’s household recycling centres affordable

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High Heavens Household Recycling Centre. (Archive Picture)

A consultation in under way on a series of proposed cost saving and future growth measures to the household recycling centres in Buckinghamshire.

The eight week consultation was launched on Tuesday 28th August 2018. The public can give their views on a series of proposed cost saving and future growth measures to make the Buckinghamshire’s household recycling centres affordable for the future.

The ten household recycling centres in Buckinghamshireare well used and extremely popular, however, Buckinghamshire County Council is having to reduce costs across all its services as funding reductions in the public sector continue to bite.

National figures show that in comparison with other areas, Buckinghamshire has a much higher number of sites serving its population. In addition, centres currently take certain waste like rubble, soil, plasterboard and car tyres for free where other Councils make a variety of disposal charges.

Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment, Bill Chapple OBE said the review was a ‘reluctant but necessary step‘.

He said: ‘We have an extremely tough budget to meet from April 2019 onwards and this means facing up to some difficult decisions. There definitely needs to be changes, but my overall aim is to retain a service that still works for the majority of people going forward.

Looking at all the data available, the responses to our user surveys and what other councils do, and bearing in mind the views of residents at four focus groups we held in July, there are some preferred options that we are setting out in the consultation. Realistically, without these, we’re not going to get anywhere near our financial savings target.

For example, there is a proposal to permanently close at least one site, with the preferred option being Bledlow. We are also including other proposals for closing two sites, Bledlow and Burnham, and to bring in selected weekday closures on days when the sites at Burnham, Chesham and Aylesbury (Rabans Lane) are less used.

We’re also proposing to introduce charging at all sites for specific waste that we don’t legally have to accept for free. I completely understand that people don’t like being faced with extra charges, however, I have taken into account the fact that less than a third of waste falls into this category, so the charges won’t affect everyone and it also brings us into line with what other councils do.

Of course, there are other areas where we have genuine choice and that’s where an open and honest consultation is so important. For example, we’re looking for views on which two weekdays people would prefer Burnham (if this site remains open), Chesham and Aylesbury (Rabans Lane) to be closed on, and also what Buckinghamshire residents think about people from outside the county using our recycling centres, which is of course an extra cost to local county taxpayers.

The Council also plans to extend the operation of reuse shops (currently at Aston Clinton and High Wycombe and run by South Bucks Hospice) so more can be recycled and sold with the money going to charity.

Bill added: ‘I hope people will see the reasons for the changes we propose to bring in and I look forward to hearing views on the areas where there is genuine and open choice.

The consultation runs until midnight on Monday 22nd October 2018. Access to the online survey and supporting information is available at www.buckscc.gov.uk/hrc-review.A series of drop-in events is also planned in local libraries so people can find out more details about the proposals.

The schedule of ‘drop-in’ events is as follows:

  • Bucks County Show (BCC stand) – Thursday 30th August 2018 from 8.00am to 6.00pm.
  • High Wycombe library – Friday 7th September 2018 from 10.00am to 1.00pm.
  • Princes Risborough library – Tuesday 11th September 2018 from 10.00am to 1.00pm.
  • Aylesbury Library (currently in the study centre) Thursday 20th September 2018 from 10.00am to 1.00pm.
  • Buckingham library – Wednesday 26th September 2018 from 10.00am to 1.00pm.
  • Burnham library – Thursday 4th October 2018 from 10.00am to 1.00pm.
  • Chesham library – Monday 8th October 2018 from 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
  • Beaconsfield library – Thursday 11th Oct 2018 from 10.00am to 1.00pm.

Following the consultation, final decisions are expected to be made by the Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet later in 2018.

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